MSNBC President threatened to fire Keith Olbermann

Toublemaking anchor Keith Olbermann

MSNBC President Phil Griffin threatened to fire bombastic host Keith Olbermann during his suspension over donations to political candidates.

Media writer Howard Kurtz reports in The Daily Beast that Griffin told Olbermann’s manager that he would fire the problem child “news” show host if Olbermann went public on rival networks with comments about his suspension.

Meanwhile, NBC news insiders tell Capitol Hill Blue that NBC news icon Tom Brokaw and other prominent news personalities have warned GriffIn that Olbermann’s blatant partisanship is damaging the network’s reputation as a new organization.

Brokaw reportedly has told Griffin that MSNBC would “be better off” without Olbermann.

The insiders, who asked not to be identified, say the moody Olbermann’s monumental ego is “out of control” and that he is daring the brass to fire him.

Reports Kurtz:

Keith Olbermann was having dinner with his manager at an Upper East Side restaurant, chewing over their battle to lift his suspension at MSNBC, when Phil Griffin called.

Michael Price stepped out of the Atlantic Grill to talk to MSNBC’s president, leaving his client with a platter of 18 oysters. It was Sunday, Nov. 7, and Price informed Griffin that if they couldn’t resolve their differences quickly, Olbermann would take his complaints public by accepting invitations from Good Morning America, David Letterman, and Larry King.

“Why are you putting us in the position where you’re daring us to do this?” Price demanded, his voice rising.

“If you go on GMA, I will fire Keith,” Griffin shot back. Such a move was clearly grounds for dismissal.

Griffin suspended Olbermann after the web site Politico revealed the host of “Countdown” has donated to three candidates in the mid-term elections without clearing those contributions with network brass — a violation of MSNBC rules.

Olbermann admits making the donations but claims nothing in his contract with the network prohibited such donations or required advance approval.  Olbermann points to former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” news/talk show, as a network personality who has made contributions without punishment  (UPDATE: MSNBC Friday suspended Scarborough for two days — the same punishment that Olbermann received).

Network insiders say Olbermann is a “bully” and a “tyrant,” who often refuses to talk directly with his own staff and orders them to leave notes on his office door.  The insiders say Olbermann has refused to meet or talk with Price since his return from his three-day suspension.

Griffin demanded a written apology from Olbermann in exchange for lifting the suspension.

It never came but network sources say the relationship between the two have “reached a point of no return” and say Olbermann is not “a man without a country.”

“Olbermann is living on borrowed time,” says a longtime network staffer. “It’s no longer a question of if he will be gone. It’s just a matter of when.”

Olbermann is in the middle of a four-year contract worth $30 million.

(UPDATED on November 19 with new information).

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6 Responses to "MSNBC President threatened to fire Keith Olbermann"

  1. Sandune  November 16, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Olbermann has fallen into the same temper mode as the Tea Partiers. In fact, all of MSNBC is roaring mad at everything. Even Morning Joe turned up the volume of their terrible background music and I yearn for Don Imus in the Morning. I long for the days of news without drama.

    • Almandine  November 16, 2010 at 6:18 pm

      So go to Fox for Imus.

      • Sandune  November 18, 2010 at 12:57 pm

        Almandine, I just spent an hour trying to locate Imus on Fox Business and my cable does not carry it. I used to listen on-line but the reception was poor. I want news starting at 3 am here as I cannot sleep long. Thank you anyway, I really wanted to catch up with the old fool. He does the best book reviews and really guides my list of books.

        Sandy

  2. bmclellan  November 16, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Sandy, MSNBC discovered what Rupert knew all along.
    Crap in the hay and the people will not bother to sift for the untainted nourishment as they stampede headlong over the spoils to eat the straw.

  3. Conrad  November 17, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    T.E.A, partiers mad? Upset maybe. And, sometimes there is more crap than straw in both barns.

  4. Sandune  November 18, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Conrad, I do not like to be threatened with guns and bullets. I’ve been a Republican since 1953 and never was threatened before that fool of a mama grizzly. She reminds me of the actress Betty Hutton, who was a walking time bomb. Palin in a drama queen who plays to the lowest IQ of her audience. I can just imagine what a Tea Partier would do after a major disaster. They would say it is not in their responsibility to save lives. The Czar of Russia allowed millions of his people to die. Henry VIII allowed his fight with the Pope to remove the homes and stock of people who disagreed and they fled to Scotland and soon died. I will never bend to a threat how how to act, vote, what to think and how toi expect my money earned to be all there. My ancients fled Scotland and then England when guns forced them out. There were here before the revolution and settle quietly without fanfare or bullets.

    Sandy
    .

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